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Rangers Begin Road Trip in Los Angeles Against Kings

by Matt Calamia @MattCalamia /

The Rangers begin their three-game road trip through California with a matchup with the Los Angeles Kings Saturday night at Staples Center.

New York is coming off a 3-2 loss Wednesday night against the Islanders at Madison Square Garden. Mats Zuccarello and Rick Nash scored while Antti Raanta allowed three goals on 28 shots.

The loss was the team's seventh straight at home.

Luckily for New York, the results have been strong away from The Garden, as the Rangers enter Saturday's contest with nine wins in their last 11 road games, including just one regulation defeat. The Rangers' 26 wins away from home are tops in the NHL.

Raanta will get the start for the Rangers against the Kings Saturday night. He's 2-0-1 with one shutout in his career against LA, and has allowed one goal or fewer in two of those starts.

The Rangers were victorious in the only meeting between these two squads back on Jan. 23, with the Blueshirts edging the Kings 3-2 at The Garden. Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots that night, while Mats Zuccarello scored the game-winner.

The Kings come into Saturday's game eight points out of a playoff spot with nine games to play. Los Angeles edged the Winnipeg Jets, 5-2, Thursday night, and are 5-4-1 in their last 10 games.

Forward Jeff Carter has had a great season with 31 goals and 30 assists for 61 points through 73 games, but there's a drop off after that, with captain Azne Kopitar with just 11 goals and 46 points through 67 games, a big regression from his 74 points in 81 games from a season ago.

Los Angeles has struggled to score all season with just 180 tallies in 73 games, which is good enough for 11th-best in the Western Conference. 

The Kings have excelled on the defensive side of the puck, allowing just 183 goals this year , which is tied for fourth in the Western Conference, just two behind the second fewest team, the Anaheim Ducks.

What makes that feat even more impressive is the fact that Los Angeles had been without goaltender Jonathan Quick for nearly the entire season. The netminder has a 5-2-1 record in 10 starts this season. Los Angeles acquired Ben Bishop from Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, ane he's 1-2-2 in five games out west.

The Rangers have had success against the Kings over the years, earning a point in nine of their last 12 regular season games against the Kings dating back to Dec. 17 2008.

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